NFL to make history with its first all-Black officiating crew

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Next week’s Monday Night Football game will make history. For the first time in the NFL, an all-Black crew will officiate the November 23 game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams. 

The crew will be led by referee Jerome Boger, who has been officiating for 17 seasons. Other crew members will include umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Dale Shaw, field judge Anthony Jeffries and back judge Greg Steed, the NFL announced on Tuesday. Anderson, Mapp, Shaw, Jeffries and Boger regularly work together. 

Boger, who is the third Black referee in the NFL’s 100-year history and a former quarterback for Morehouse College, said in a statement he is “proud of my heritage and excited about my participation in this historic game.”

“The opportunity to work with a great group of Black officials and exhibit our proficiency in executing our assignment is something I am really looking forward to,” he said.

Troy Vincent, executive vice president of football operations for the NFL, said in a statement that the crew “is a testament to the countless and immeasurable contributions of Black officials to the game, their exemplary performance, and to the power of inclusion that is the hallmark of this great game.”

In an effort to ease travel concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 NFL season has assembled crews based on geography, CBS Sports reported. 

On Tuesday, the NFL announced that 17 additional players have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as 35 other personnel. From August 1 to November 14, a total of 95 players and 175 other personnel were confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19. 

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